Celebrating Ten Years of Women Entrepreneurship Development in Romania

This year the Association for Women Entrepreneurship Development (ADAF) in Romania celebrated ten years of activity. ADAF is a non-governmental organization which aims at promoting and supporting women entrepreneurship. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, ADAF organized a conference titled “Accomplishments and Prospects for Women Entrepreneurship in Romania”. The event took place on October 27 at the House of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania and brought together over one hundred participants including public officials from the government of Romania, women business association members, individual entrepreneurs, members of the academia, and media representatives.

At the beginning of the conference Mrs. Cornelia Rotaru, ADAF President, gave an overview of the association’s activity and accomplishments. She summed up the numerous projects, events and exchange programs in which ADAF has participated since its inception. She spoke about ADAF’s membership in the Coalition of Women Business Associations (CAFA) in Romania and the Balkan Coalition of Women Business Associations. Both coalitions have received support from CIPE during their first years of activity.

The conference agenda also included presentations by public officials who spoke about policies and programs developed by the Government of Romania to support entrepreneurship. For example, two representatives of the Ministry of Public Finances presented fiscal policies and support measures available for entrepreneurs in the context of the economic crisis. A representative of the Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Business Environment gave a presentation about support programs for SMEs, whereas a representative of the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection spoke about policies in the field of equal opportunities for women and men.

Participants of the conference also had the opportunity to listen to an overview of the Coalition of Women Business Associations. Gabriela Chiriac, President of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs in Romania (AFIR Galati), summarized CAFA’s activity between 2004 and 2011. This year AFIR Galati has been in charge of the CAFA secretariat. Another CAFA member, the Association of Business Women and Top Managers in Brasov, presented recent projects the association has developed and focused on. One such project, titled “Training Firms”, targets high school students who learn how to create and manage a company.

Other presenters spoke about how to develop a company, as well as about the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurship. It is also worth noting that the conference agenda featured presentations on opportunities and barriers to women entrepreneurship in Romania, as well as on research to determine the profile of women who start a business. In Romania, most such women have higher education, are aged between 25 and 40 and have the support of their families. Their main motivation when starting a business is the desire to be independent and to prove that they can be successful in business.

With so many encouraging findings on the Romanian women entrepreneurs and the associations that represent them, such as ADAF, it is very likely that the future will bring even more opportunities for Romanian women to assert themselves as successful entrepreneurs.

Carmen Stanila
CIPE Romania

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